Steel Markets

AGC: Unemployment Drops in Construction Sector in May

Written by Becca Moczygemba

Unemployment is falling in the construction sector, with 25,000 jobs added in May to meet growing demand, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). 

construction“Demand for construction workers remains strong, outside of homebuilding,” Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist, said in a statement on June 2. “Contractors continue to report their primary challenge is finding qualified workers, not finding projects or most materials.”

Construction employment for May was 7,928,000, up 0.3% from the prior month, and rising 2.5% from 7,736,000 in May 2022. Most of the increase occurred in the nonresidential sector – including nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors, along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms, with 22,100 employees being added, while only 2,500 were added to residential building, AGC said. Over the past 12 months, construction jobs have increased by 192,000.  

AGC said that the unemployment rate among jobseekers with construction experience declined from 3.8% in May 2022 to 3.5%, “the second-lowest May rate in the 23-year history of the data.”

Though firms are still struggling to fill positions, the AGC noted that firms are taking action, like increasing pay, to recruit employees. “Construction demand is strong, firms are looking to hire, and federal officials are investing billions in construction and infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO.

Pay levels in the industry jumped significantly for production and nonsupervisory positions, which covers most onsite workers and office workers. The year-over-year increase gives workers a 6% hike to $34.07 per hour, compared to $32.15 in May 2022, AGC said. Firms paid a “premium” of almost 19% compared to the average rate of all private-sector employees.

By Becca Moczygemba, 

Becca Moczygemba

Read more from Becca Moczygemba

Latest in Steel Markets